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Fort Macleod

Fort Macleod is located in the southwest corner of Alberta, it was founded as a North West Mounted Police barracks and is named in honour of the North West Mounted Police Colonel James Macleod.

Fort Macleod was originally established in 1874 on an island on the Oldman River, then moved in 1884 to the present town location. The Museum of the North-West Mounted Policeis located in Fort Macleod.

Once agricultural settlement and the railway came to the region, Macleod boomed. The town became a CPR divisional point and frontier wood construction began to be replaced by brick and sandstone. In 1906 a fire devastated the downtown and destroyed most of the wooden buildings. From 1906 to 1912 Macleod had its greatest period of building, as more new brick and stone building replaced the destroyed wooden ones. Then in 1912 the CPR moved the divisional point and 200 jobs to Lethbridge, devastating the local economy. Fort Macleod ceased to grow, and in 1924 was forced to declare bankruptcy. Until the 1970s, the town's economy stagnated and the buildings from the turn-of-the-century remained untouched.

On August 27th, 1956 while an RCAF squadron leader and a flight Lieutenant were attempting to set a speed record in an F-86 and flying over Fort Macleod, a stationary object in the sky was observed. It was brighter than the sunlight and distinctly disk shaped. Possible explanations that the object was a cloud, a sun dog or a reflection were ruled out because it was a definite light source as it was equally bright on both sides.

Fort Macleod is located in the district of Willow Creek at the intersection of HWY 2 and HWY 3, on the Oldman River. It is west of the city of Lethbridge, near the reserves of the Piegan and Kainah First Nations. Also is close to the Waterton Lakes National Park.


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